Thursday, February 27, 2014

Leszek Dranicki – Leszek Dranicki (Swinging Tricity Vol.5) (2013) ***

Leszek Dranicki - vocals, guitar
many others


By Adam Baruch

This is the fifth installment in the excellent archival series documenting Polish Jazz created in the country's Tricity on the Baltic Sea, one of the important centers where Polish Jazz thrives and over the years produced numerous first-rate musicians and superb bands. The series presents material, which in most cases never previously appeared in any form and therefore is of immense historic importance.

This chapter presents the vocalist / guitarist Leszek Dranicki, who was a member of the Jazz-Rock Fusion ensemble Baszta, which is also documented in this series, and later played in several other groups (including the legendary Krzak) and recorded as a leader. This album is an expanded reissue of his debut solo album "With A Little Help…", originally released by Polskie Nagrania / Muza, with six bonus tracks recorded later at radio sessions.

The music consists all of Jazz, Blues and Pop standards, which Dranicki sings (in English) and plays guitar on. Although some of the arrangements are pretty nice, the overall effect is far from spectacular. As usual the attempt to sing in English simply falls apart and spoils the pleasure of the instrumental work, which is better by far. Dranicki is a good guitar player with a Bluesy feel and splendid technical efficiency. The two bonus tracks recorded with bassist Andrzej Cudzich and drummer Eryk Kulm are the most impressive and the last two solo tracks are the weakest.

The problem with this album is that is completely lacks any originality and shows how some of the musicians behind the Iron Curtain wanted to copy what was happening elsewhere, rather than create some new facets in their musical explorations. Of course this material is still worthy, especially as part of an archival series.

This is another great piece of Polish Jazz history, which should definitely be told and preserved as part of the country's Cultural Heritage. Kudos to Marcin Jacobson for creating this series and keeping it going!

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